No Country is an Island in Regulating Food Safety: How the WTO Monitors Chinese Food Safety Law Through the Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM)
26 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2014
Date Written: September 23, 2014
Established within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM) reviews periodically the trade policies of all WTO Members. The review includes many aspects of food safety regulation. China’s trade policy is reviewed every two years. This paper analyses in detail the reviews of China’s trade policy in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. It focuses in particular on food safety law and types of standards, alignment of domestic standards with international standards, the role of different domestic institutions, transparency and notification of food safety measures under the WTO agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement), import and export, and geographical indications (GIs). It concludes that the WTO TPRM can contribute, within its mandate, to reform of Chinese food safety law and improvement of food safety in China. It notes that China has already undertaken substantial reforms of its system for regulating food safety. It recommends that China should continue to participate actively in the TPRM, follow its own path with regard to alignment and learn selectively from other WTO Members. It also makes specific recommendations for reform of food safety law in China.
Keywords: Food safety, food standards, Public health, Consumer welfare, China, Chinese food safety law, World Trade Organization, WTO Law, Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM), SPS Agreement, TBT Agreement
JEL Classification: D73, D78, E65, F02, F13, F23, H11, H41, I18, L66
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation